Many who need these machines have lost their livelihood and are thus not able to afford the rent, he said, adding that it was painful to note that some private organisations were trying to make a profit at a time like this.
There are at least two organisations that have put up boards advertising oxygen concentrators on rent. One of them announced that it was renting concentrators with a Rs 5,000 refundable security deposit for a maximum of five days with daily charges. It also added that the patients’ mobile phone and Aadhaar card numbers and doctor’s prescription were mandatory. When asked, another company said it was charging Rs 3,000 per day and that tele-supervision and homecare which enables the customers to consult doctors were part of the service.
“Some unscrupulous elements have decided to cash in on the ordeal,” said S Jagadeesan, an engineer. There, however, are others like government veterinary doctor Ravi Shankar who has been providing this service for free from April. Starting with three concentrators, he now has nine equipment. “We handover the machines and teach the patient’s relative/attendant on using it. We also check with them regularly over phone. The machines are usually used for five days, though in one case the patient used the machine for 15 days,” Ravi Shankar said.
“The solution is for the government to issue orders that only government or recognised NGOs can offer this as a service and not profit minded private parties,” added Sathiyamoorthy.